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Old 03-16-2007, 11:46 PM   #1
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Clarifying terms.

There are two terms I've run into in recipes that are bugging me.

1) Whip (or beat) until stiff. This is when referring to egg whites. I try and try but when beating them all I get is foam and more foam. Never "stiff" is this something I will need to beat for like 10mins in order to achieve? Or is it that I've beaten them far too long?

2) Fold. For instance on souffles you will see this all the time. Fold the egg mixture into the other mixture. What exactly is it asking me to do? Not mix them I figured but I don't know how you go about "folding"

Thanks

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Old 03-17-2007, 12:36 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevem
There are two terms I've run into in recipes that are bugging me.

1) Whip (or beat) until stiff. This is when referring to egg whites. I try and try but when beating them all I get is foam and more foam. Never "stiff" is this something I will need to beat for like 10mins in order to achieve? Or is it that I've beaten them far too long?

2) Fold. For instance on souffles you will see this all the time. Fold the egg mixture into the other mixture. What exactly is it asking me to do? Not mix them I figured but I don't know how you go about "folding"

Thanks
Steve, when it comes to whipping egg whites, there are several stages depending on what your recipe calls for. Yes, you will get foam. That's what egg whites are. But, there are different stages of beaten egg whites.

Beating them until stiff is just that...stiff. When you raise your whisk/beater out of the egg whites, you will have a stiff mass. The peaks of the eggs will hold a "stiff" peak.

You need to whip whites to learn what this stage is.

As for "folding," that means gently turning the beaten egg whites into whatever mass that is ready to accept them into. Think of dolloping the egg whites onto a mass of batter and then, gently, using a spatula to turn (as in stirring) the egg whites into the "batter." Treating the beaten egg whites in this manner allows them to be incorporated into your batter/mass to give the lightness that the egg whites started out with.
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Old 03-17-2007, 12:41 AM   #3
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Folding..like over and under..a side ways circle.
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Old 03-17-2007, 04:53 AM   #4
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Stevem, cooking ain't all that mystical. It is one of the two activities our parents, and their parents, and those who came before them had to know about. But we can talk about cooking in polite company, so let's deal with the whipped egg thing.

Never have had a problem. Googled a bit and found a site that will tell you about using a copper pan and tartar sauce and doing things that I have never done.

The only no-no as I understand it is not to have any of the yolk in the egg whites. Have never tried to beat a mess of whites with a tad of yolk, but I give it to you as, by me, unverified dogma.

But the folks who keep saying that I kinda believe.

So I take the eggs and separate them individually before I put the egg whites into a bowl.

And then I take a whisk. You can use a hand mixer, sure. I have one of those buried somewhere in the drawer that holds all the amazing gizmos I never use.

Or even an egg beater. Am not sure those things even exist anymore, sorry. But surely do not know why. In the time someone can put together their blades on an electric gadget, I can whip anything with a hand grinding egg beater. But alas, those gizmos have gone the way of the dodo I fear.

Sorry for the aside, back to the whisk.

Now just start moving the whisk about the side of the bowl, beating the eggs. No, not that fast, faster. Even faster than that. No, no, not fast enough. This is an exercise, work. You need an olympic style effort here.

You can do it. Great grandmas do it every day.

Just put a bit of effort into it and you will get the sorta stiff stuff you want, it should make peaks. Once they do that you are done.

Stevem, it is not all that tough. Do it once right and you have it.

Just keep those pesky yolk parts out of the whites and beat the heck out of the whites.
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Old 03-17-2007, 05:02 AM   #5
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To add to Katie E's comments, when beating egg whites to a stiff consistency, make sure that the eggs are fresh and that the bowl is free of grease. Also you can use a big metal spoon to fold in beaten egg whites. Good luck!!
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Old 03-17-2007, 08:04 AM   #6
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If you are beating your egg whites with a whisk, then, no, you have not beaten them nearly enough. They totally change consistency and form--become very very stiff and white, like meringue.
As for folding, better than a spoon I think,is a rubber spatula. You put the egg whites into the other mixture that you are going to incorporate. Then take the spatula to the bottom of the bowl and lift it through the egg whites,gently repeating a figure 8 pattern and turning the bowl.
For beating you might like to purchase a hand rotary mixer or a hand electric mixer. YOu will use it for other things.
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Old 03-17-2007, 10:15 AM   #7
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Also your eggs will whip better if they are at room temp.
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Old 03-17-2007, 02:09 PM   #8
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To beat egg whites successfully:

The whites should be at room temp
The bowl and beaters must be clean
Use metal or glass bowls and metal beaters
Any trace of fat on the beaters or in the bowl will doom you to failure.
Do not use plastic bowls or beaters as they can hold traces of fat from earlier uses and cause you problems.
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Old 03-17-2007, 02:29 PM   #9
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To fold whites into whatever you are folding its also good to first fold in about a fifth to fourth of the egg whites to loosen up your batter then add the rest of the whites.Less breakdown that way.
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